I was recently on the Atlanta Thrashers message boards. I was reading a thread where people once again discussed the idea of trading either Lethonen, Moose, or Pavelec. In the past I've always been more of a either "trade Moose for whatever we can get for him and bring up Pavelec as Kari's back up to light a fire under Kari's ass'' or "trade Pavelec and prospects or picks in hopes of bringing back a REAL top 6 forward or top 4 stay at home defender" kinda guy.
See the rationale that I've read, even from Waddell himself, is that the Thrashers have depth at goalie and its a way we could trade for the talent we need to show Kovalchuk the Thrashers are going to do what it takes to be a serious contender. Now while I agree with getting more talent on the team not only for that reason but for just plain ''getting talent'' purposes go, I argue that trading away any of these goalies might hurt us in the long run.
The last thing I want to see the team doing right now is mortgaging the future for today. I hope we learned our lesson with the whole "Coburn fiasco of 2006". I would really hate to see us trade away our goalies for a minimal return that only leaves us up the creek when one or two of them gets hurt and we need a back up. Its happened before, had we more depth in goal in the 2005-2006 season we might have made the playoffs.
Also, and I give credit to the Atlanta Thrashers message board poster "Zim" credit for this: a number of elite goaltenders have struggled in the NHL at Pavelec's age and gone on to great success (examples include Broduer, Belfour, Hasek, & Nabakov). Do we want to see Pavelec move onto another team only to see him gathering 30 wins only a couple of years from now?
Another point would be that we need to stop rushing our prospects into the league and let them come up when the time is right and not always when we need them due to not enough depth. I know that Pavelec, or his agent, supposedly threw a fit earlier in the year about being sent back to Chicago but that is what happens to prospects. You get sent down until you are ready for the big show. He is going to have to get used to that. It would probably have happened on any other NHL team as well.
To me, and I've read something where Waddell said the same, the team would have to get another goalie who is NHL ready if they were to trade away any of the 3 goalies. You just have to have the back up plan in place should the worst case scenario occur.
If it was my decision, and I'm sure "THE WAD" will call asking for advice, I would keep all 3. Pavelec still has much potential and so does Kari. Moose is the guy everyone likes to have in the locker room and seems to serve as a good mentor to the younger players, which we have many of right now. I do not think the return we would get from trading any of them would justify the trade. Don't forget that Lethonen is still young. There is obviously the health issues but I say sign him for 1 or 2 more years and give him one last shot. If he is able to improve his focus and be the kind of goalie that we have seen glimpses of he could be our guy for a long time to come. He's just gotta stay off the IR for long enough to prove it. While I know that Atlanta has not been a major destination for free agents lately I really hope that Waddell is able to lure a couple solid players to the team. Hopefully, that will mean we don't need to give up any of them at all. Last but not least, don't forget this is the final year of Hedberg's contract and I do not expect for him to be resigned. One more year in the AHL could be just what the doctor ordered for Pavelec.
Unfortunately I view this as a "damned if you do, damned if you don't'' situation. If we do decide to trade Pavelec or Lethonen and down the road they end up playing great for another team then we'll be kicking ourselves. But how much longer can Atlanta fans sit around waiting for success?
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